Dress well for success at the office and impress with your style and professionalism. If you know the right do's and don't for the job, you can easily look and feel your best to perform and maintain your confidence.
In a work environment, you want to make a good impression and avoid common mistakes lots of people make with their outfits. Looking great at the office isn't complicated once you know the right dress code to look professional.
To help you make sure that your work outfits are appropriate, here are some important office dress code do's and don'ts you need to know.
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Do prioritize comfort whenever you can
You want to look and feel comfortable at the office at all times. Otherwise, you might not be able to do your job properly or perform at your best.
Put on a casual outfit that fits everyday use if you feel the need to. Prioritize comfort and leisure and make it simple to look stylish at work. A casual office attire will ensure you always feel comfortable on the job.
Do blend style with professionalism
Wearing a casual outfit doesn't mean that you can't look stylish or professional. Craft chic work outfits that are elegant and easy-going, featuring classic and feminine clothing pieces.
The best office attires perfectly blend style and professionalism to look fashionable and laid-back in a work environment with timeless and sophisticated pieces.
Do know the proper dress code
Do you already know what's the dress code you should follow at work? If you don't, try to figure it out before crafting your next outfit.
Experiment to find out what you like and what is appropriate for your office environment. If you don't know what's the best dress code for the job, simply ask around.
Try out different clothing combinations until you find the perfect match for your preferences and office requirements.
Knowing the right dress code for the job helps you decide what kind of clothes suit you best at the office. You'll easily look stylish and professional if you wear pieces that you like the most and suit your office.
To help you find dress well at the office, check out my definitive list of different work dress codes.
Do add layers to your outfits
Add gorgeous layers to your work outfits to dress stylishly and enhance the way you look. Pick a handful of layers that you can throw on to craft unique, original outfits and look fabulous at the office.
A long, well-fitting coat or a classic bomber jacket can improve your style drastically. Overcoats, blazers, vests, and liners help you stand out and make any casual outfit instantly more stylish and chic.
Do include high-end pieces if you can
Put on high-end pieces such as blazers, jumpsuits, and quality shoes to look more elegant, mature, and refined. Adopt a smart, casual look to dress fashionable and stylishly for events, meetings, or interviews.
Some of the most fabulous and luxurious pieces are chic, timeless, and sustainable to help you look your best and feel comfortable with a good conscience.
You can find affordable styles from Gucci, Hermès Birkin, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, Christian Dior, Michael Kors, and more on designer resale sites.
Do be creative with your outfits
Do be a little creative with your outfits and push yourself out of your comfort zone. There are so many different dressing styles to try out there that are also appropriate in a work environment.
Use your creativity and express yourself and find a style that is all about you, showing your personality and showcasing your best features through originality, confidence, and uniqueness.
Do wear the right fit
If you want to dress stylishly at the office, put on clothes that fit right. Otherwise, your risk losing style and elegance. You also might damage the garments and feel uncomfortable.
Don't wear clothes that are too small or too big if your want to look and feel your best. Avoid any tops that are too large, wide dresses, and baggy pants that hide your shape and make your body appear larger than it is.
Avoid clothes that are too tight as well, especially around your midsection, as they are annoying and unaesthetic. Wear clothing with the perfect fit that skims your figure, emphasizes your waist, and makes you look fabulous at the office.
Do prefer classic over trendy clothes
You might be tempted to stay on-trend but it's a bad idea to wear trendy clothes in a work environment. Avoid trendy outfits, highly creative cuts, prints, and patterns that are difficult to style and go out of style fast.
Cheap, trendy clothing is usually low-quality and doesn't look elegant or refined, especially at the office. You'll quickly realize you have nothing to wear if you follow fashion trends.
Instead, pick clothes that you can easily put together to craft chic and classy work outfits that you can wear for a long time. Prefer essential, high-quality, and elegant pieces that are also uncomplicated and stylish.
Classic clothing pieces don't easily go out of style, are very versatile, and you can wear them for longer. They save you money and improve the way you look at the office.
Invest in versatile, classic, and timeless clothes and combine them into different fashionable outfits that stand the test of time.
Do wear traditional pieces to look professional
The best business dress codes for work feature traditional clothing pieces that you'd normally wear to an office. Wear modest colors and styles to look appropriate and professional at work.
Your normal business attire is a somewhat conservative and traditional outfit that presents a professional appearance with collared shirts, suits, jackets, dress pants, or skirts in neutral colors like black, brown, or navy.
Do put on a suit for formal occasions
Dressier attires for office work like suits are suitable for business events with a high level of protocol and professional dress.
Generally reserved for people that hold a high-level position, suits are also appropriate for formal occasions.
If you are a manager or regularly meet with executives, wear dark-colored suits, skirt suits, dress shirts, dress shoes, ties, and pocket squares.
Check out our selection of the best sustainable suits for women and men.
Do invest in dress shoes
Get stylish dress shoes that match your skin tone and the work outfits you plan to wear. Great footwear is crucial to look and feel your best at the office.
Make sure your shoes complement your colors and complete the rest of your outfit. A high-quality pair of dress shoes is essential to look stylish and professional.
Buy from footwear brands that follow high social and environmental standards. Ethically produced, quality footwear is one of the best investments you can make to improve the way you look at work.
Do wear high heels at business events
High heels are appropriate for events such as awards ceremonies, benefit dinners, and cocktail receptions, organized for purposes of social or business networking.
Try to look elegant and sophisticated with elaborate dresses and high heels whenever you go to formal events, dinners, and other evening gatherings.
Do put simplicity first
If you want to instantly look stylish and professional at the office, keep your outfits simple by picking the right combination of effortless clothes that go well together.
When buying new clothes and crafting your work outfits, put simplicity first. Remove unneeded extras to enhance the way you look in a work environment.
You can easily improve your style by keeping an uncomplicated wardrobe with simple clothes and basic designs. They don't necessarily have to be boring if you make every piece you own a winner.
Do wear vintage work attires
Vintage office clothes can be found in resale shops, thrift stores, and vintage stores. When an item is at least 20 years old, it's genuinely vintage or antique.
Buying and wearing vintage work attires saves you time and money and allows you to access a large variety of unique styles to relive old trends and craft fabulous work outfits that nobody else is wearing.
Don't wear ultra-casual clothes in a strict work environment
The ultra-casual dress code for work is only appropriate in a very relaxed work environment. This highly informal style of office wear is very popular nowadays with leggings, sweatpants, hoodies, or sweaters.
If you work in a strict office where dress codes matter a lot, don't put on ultra-casual clothes. Avoid tank tops, flip flops, ripped jeans, punk-rock jackets, and any other clothing piece that doesn't show professionalism.
Don't try to look too sophisticated
You can look elegant and easy-going at the same time. It's ok to wear fashionable and refined pieces but don't try to look too sophisticated. It makes you appear trying too hard to look more formal than necessary.
Being overdressed is an issue as serious as looking too casual. Pick the right combination of clothes depending on the occasion. Follow the dress code that fits in the setting to dress well.
But don't hesitate to stand out by breaking the rules. Get a feeling for when you need to conform and when you can ignore dress codes.
Don't be a maximalist
The maximalist dress code is a reaction against minimalism, summarized as more is more in contrast to less is more, the minimalist motto.
Maximalism encourages bold and excessive clothes that advocate a high sense of style and extravagant aesthetics.
In an office environment, you want to stand out with style and professionalism, and not through elaborate, ostentatious, exorbitant clothes. Don't be a maximalist at the office.
Don't put on revealing clothes
Don't hesitate to make your best features stand out but don't be too revealing in the process. Highlighting your most attractive traits is crucial to dress well, even at the office, but stay classy.
One of the best ways to enhance your style is to showcase your unique assets. Wear clothes that accentuate your best features but keep your outfits chic and stylish. Don't show too much skin at the office.
Don't wear unusual clothes
Fashion is the ultimate form of self-expression. Don't hesitate to let your personality shine through your outfits. But don't wear unusual clothes that aren't appropriate for the office either.
Simply focus on what feels right for you without overdoing it, whether you like contemporary styles, easygoing, classic pieces, or want to break away from the norm and set new rules.
Don't hide your femininity
Focus on modest attire for the office with less revealing clothes, but don't hide your femininity. Modest clothing can be very feminine, even if it's specifically designed to show less skin.
You can look chic, classy, elegant, and professional in a cute, feminine outfit. Wear timeless, simple, and smart pieces that compliment your features perfectly, blending professionalism with style.
Feminine work outfits help you feel beautiful, young, and charming. They feature effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure, including dresses, skirts, blouses, with lots of features such as laces, flounces, or ruffles.
Don't hesitate to add colors
Neutral colors make clothing pieces very versatile and timeless and they can work with any outfit. But don't hesitate to add a few bright and colorful items to add a twist to your work outfits.
Bold colors improve your look by giving a particular nuance to your outfits. They can instantly make you stand out, more attractive, and confident.
But you need to choose the perfect combination of colors for your work outfits. Don't wear colors that are too bold but don't shy away from colors completely.
Don't dress too casual in summer
It's difficult to craft the perfect business outfits for summer to say cool and look professional in hot weather. Effective and functional summer wear for the office is challenging to find as many season pieces are too casual.
Consider summer dresses or skirts that make you feel comfortable while looking sophisticated throughout the day.
Don't be afraid to be unpopular
It's ok if you are unpopular or introverted at the office. The nerdy or geeky dress code is now widespread with a passionate pop-culture community.
It's the perfect opportunity to boost your self-confidence. To look and feel your best, try to stay positive and adopt a positive mindset. Start building your confidence up and grow into the best person you can be.
Avoiding negative thinking at all costs. Love yourself and the way you look as much as you can. This mindset shift alone is sure to improve your style and make you more attractive, effective, and professional in no time.
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.